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"We . . . found a strong trend for a decrease in prostate cancer risk as the number of sons increased," said lead researcher Susan Harlap, a professor of clinical epidemiology at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health.

The findings are in line with scientific theories that there is a link between abnormalities in a man's Y chromosome and the likelihood that the man will get prostate cancer, she said. The sex of a child depends on whether it gets an X or a Y chromosome from the father. Men with a damaged Y chromosome are less likely to have sons, while those with a damaged X chromosome may be unable to have daughters.

-- Christopher Lee

Overwork Costly to Environment

Being a workaholic is bad for the environment, suggests an analysis by the D.C.-based Center for Economic and Policy Research.

The report, written by researcher David Rosnick and economist Mark Weisbrot, warns that if Europeans worked the long hours that Americans do, it would boost their energy consumption rates by 30 percent. This would boost the international demand for fuel, as well as Europe's overall carbon dioxide emissions, which are linked to climate change.

"There is an important political debate in Europe over whether Europeans would be better off economically if they moved towards a U.S.-style economic model, most importantly in their labor markets," the authors write. "But aside from the economic and political implications, there are some potentially large costs to the environment if European countries were to move to a U.S.-style economic model."

So the debate is settled: Midday siestas and extended vacations are environmentally friendly, as long as Europeans don't hop a transatlantic flight during their free time and burn up lots of fuel along the way.

-- Juliet Eilperin


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